I work at an institution of higher education. One of our employee benefits is a generous tuition reimbursement if we take classes here. I decided to take advantage of this and go back to school, finish my degree by scheduling classes part time around the FT job that allows me the benefit of this education.

I have a departmental boss who constantly pays lip service to being supportive of me and my career, including my decision to pursue my degree. Yet she constantly does things to undermine me and make life harder for me than necessary. Just as one example (and believe me it is only one of many, just happens to be the most recent and least complicated to explain), we have a quarterly potluck in our department to celebrate staff birthdays from that quarter. She has known for a week now that I have a final exam on a particular morning next week -- yet she decided to schedule staff meeting for that same morning and just now rescheduled the potluck simultaneously, ensuring I won't be able to attend or enjoy it -- when I am, in fact, one of the staff members whose birthday is being (belatedly) celebrated.

Like I said this isn't the only example. There's a particular task which is not something I was hired for but is something people tend to dump on me because they don't want to deal with it. Not only does she refuse to back me up in empowering the other staff to handle that matter themselves (only involving me if it is absolutely necessary) but on at least half a dozen separate occasions over the past semester she dumped "rush rush" type stress on me on class days trying to interfere with my class time and then come to find out she can't be bothered to put the stamp of approval on the end result of that task until hours later anyway -- so all the stress and "rush rush" vibe was just literally an exercise in making me feel like my class time was threatened, nothing more.

We have a flextime policy at my workplace -- but she refuses to use it, refuses to budge for even a reasonable accommodation. Check me on this, but I do not believe 45 minutes for two days per week at a convenient hour (phased in with lunch hour) is even remotely infeasible let alone unreasonable. There is literally almost never a day in my work life where anything is so time sensitive it would matter if I were gone for an hour. I could understand not wanting to accommodate that every day of the week, but 45 minutes, for two days only, easily made up at the end of the day or split to beginning and end, is not an unreasonable request. She simply refuses to budge and just makes a lot of noise and excuses about how my job has to come first and I need to be here, etc. She talks like I'm some teenager who doesn't "get it" and needs that kind of micromanagement. For the record, my role is in IT -- it is knowledge-based and results-driven; it is not a clock punching role in the first place. On top of all that, I'm middle-aged and have been working full time my entire life since the age of 19, probably more years than some of you reading here have been alive!

This is not the first time I've had to deal with someone pulling this kind of crap on me, but I'll be first to admit this is one problem in life I have never managed to master handling properly. I KNOW for a FACT she is doing this crap on purpose, and it is really making me angry. Of course that makes it much harder to approach the situation calmly and objectively; my emotions get in the way.

How can I make this crap stop? I'm too old for this. I just don't need or want this in my life. But I can't say anything to her or anyone else about it, because she will just deny it of course and say how ridiculous that I would think such a thing, blah blah blah. When we talk she seems congenial and genuine, and I don't dislike her completely (outside of this problem), but this just leaves me feeling like I'm being gaslit to hell and back. Her actions don't match her words, but I feel trapped, there's nowhere to go with this, and I KNOW it's deliberate -- it's too consistent to NOT be deliberate -- yet if I try to tell anyone else that, or if I try to confront her with it, I know it will go nowhere and might even make things worse for me.

How can I make this stop? And how can I get the actual practical support I need for some reasonable accommodation for my classes? I have no control over when classes are scheduled, I'm being as reasonable as I can, and nothing I need to take is available at night, FYI. Thanks.

  • Are you looking for a way to talk to your boss about it (despite the title ruling it out, seemingly)? – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Dec 6 '17 at 18:31
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    You may also want to checkout The Workplace for questions on how to navigate the workplace. – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Dec 6 '17 at 18:39
  • She's pretty much top dog here; there is nobody higher than her other than the President or the Board of Regents, and I doubt either of those would even make themselves accessible to be bothered with this sort of thing. – code-sushi Dec 6 '17 at 18:48
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    @code-sushi this is really better suited for The Workplace. – user4548 Dec 6 '17 at 19:01
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    Does the company's tuition reimbursement program explicitly state whether or not you are allowed time off from work for class or any specific conditions in that regard? – cheshire Dec 6 '17 at 20:40

Based on you're own comment to your question:

She's pretty much top dog here; there is nobody higher than her other than the President or the Board of Regents, and I doubt either of those would even make themselves accessible to be bothered with this sort of thing.

The only thing you can realistically do is resign. Even if you do the normal thing of document each occurrence, to whom would you share the information with?

Short answer: Time to find another job, save your sanity.

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    Yup. Know when to walk is wisdom. In any kind of boss-employee friction the boss remains the unmovable object. Staying will mean giving up your self-respect (and in the end probably will fail to save the job anyway). – Bookeater Dec 6 '17 at 20:36
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    Don't think I haven't considered it ... still, for me, there are reasons to stay as well. So in the meantime I'm open to considering other ways to deal with the situation. I do keep my eyes on the job board to see if there are openings in other departments! I'll vote you up, but I'm not going to take that as a final answer just yet. :) – code-sushi Dec 6 '17 at 20:58
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    No problem. If you cannot go up the food chain, you could try lateral. It just seems to me ( with just the info I have ) that your in a no win situation @code-sushi – Mister Positive Dec 6 '17 at 21:05

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